Carmike Cinemas Voices Concerns About Premium VOD

The film exhibitor reported a wider first-quarter loss as revenue dropped amid weak box office results.


NEW YORK - Movie exhibitor Carmike Cinemas on Tuesday joined its peers in voicing concerns over studios' premium VOD trials as the company reported a wider first-quarter loss as revenue dropped amid weak box office results.

"We obviously understand the current issue the studios face as they attempt to replace rapidly declining DVD revenues," Carmike president and CEO David Passman said in a conference call. "But we, as well as directors, producers, actors and all of our exhibition peers all steadfastly hold that the exhibition model in its current form is working and that the studios must be careful not to change the present windowing structure too dramatically such that they may end up shrinking the overall revenue pie in the process."

Echoing such peers as Regal Entertainment Group, he said Carmike is in ongoing discussions with studio partners about the issue.

Carmike's first-quarter loss of $18.4 million compared with a year-ago loss of $3.5 million.

Revenue declined 22 percent to $96.2 million.

“As widely reported, the domestic box office faced challenging comparisons this past quarter against a very strong 2010 first-quarter period, which included the continuation of great results from Avatar, the highest-grossing movie title of all time, and the release of Alice in Wonderland, which performed extremely well following its March 2010 debut," said Passman. "Unfortunately, the 2011 first quarter slate was unable to match the excellent year-ago industry performance."

Echoing other industry executives, he echoed though: "Despite the slow start, we are optimistic about the balance of 2011. The second quarter movie slate has started off with a bang, and we expect the positive momentum to continue with a summer slate packed with potential blockbusters such as Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Kung Fu Panda 2, X-Men: First Class, Cars 2, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part 2).“

Carmike on Tuesday also said it continues to plan to expand its 3-D screens by over 100 to bring its total to more than 700 in time for the summer movie season.

Twitter: @georgszalai